FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2018
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB DEFENSE OBTAINS DISMISSAL DUE TO PLAINTIFF’S ATTEMPT TO
COMMIT FRAUD UPON THE COURT
Premises Liability / Slip and Fall
FORT LAUDERDALE ― David M. Tarlow and Matthew McElligott, partners in the Fort Lauderdale office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., secured a dismissal based on a Motion to Dismiss for Fraud on the Court.
Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell at the Defendant’s retail store. Thereafter, Plaintiff reported to her treating physicians she slipped and fell, landing on the floor with an out-stretched arm. Plaintiff claimed that the fall caused right shoulder and cervical injuries. The store surveillance video showed that Plaintiff barely slipped and certainly did not fall. Production of the video was withheld until after Plaintiff was deposed. Plaintiff testified consistently with her Complaint, Answers to Interrogatories, and medical records and claimed to have fallen to the floor on her right side.
Plaintiff also testified that she was involved in a post-incident motor vehicle accident when she was the passenger in her daughter’s car but testified that the accident was just “a fender bender.” Plaintiff then made several material misrepresentations about this post-incident motor vehicle accident: (1) Plaintiff denied having sustained any injuries in the crash; (2) denied seeking any medical attention or treatment related to the accident; and (3) denied that she made any claim on insurance related to the motor vehicle accident.
During discovery, the defense obtained medical records that showed that Plaintiff was actually hospitalized for three days after the motor vehicle accident for internal bleeding. These records also showed that Plaintiff treated for a four month period after the MVA for cervical and right shoulder injuries, which were the same injuries she claimed occurred as a result of the Walgreens incident. We also obtained records from Plaintiff’s daughter’s car insurance company that showed that Plaintiff made a PIP claim for injuries and lost income. Plaintiff continued to treat for the motor vehicle accident until the PIP benefits were exhausted, and then Plaintiff reverted back to telling her treating physicians that all of her injuries were due to the “fall” at Walgreens. Plaintiff underwent months of physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, injections, and ultimately a cervical fusion. Plaintiff incurred and claimed $246,600.63 in past medical damages.
At the hearing, we argued that Plaintiff engaged in an intentional scheme to defraud Walgreens and the Court on issues that were central to her claims: (1) how the incident occurred; (2) the true mechanism of injury; and (3) the extent of injuries sustained by the post-incident motor vehicle accident. Plaintiff argued that the omissions did not warrant dismissal since Plaintiff disclosed the medical providers she treated with which led to the discovery of the motor vehicle accident treatment. Plaintiff reasoned that since we obtained the video and the medical records, then the defense was not prejudiced to where dismissal was the appropriate remedy. We responded, quoting Cox v. Burke, 706 So. 2d 43, 47 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), that “[a] system that depends on an adversary’s ability to uncover falsehood is doomed to failure, which is why this kind of conduct must be discouraged in the strongest possible way.” The Court ultimately agreed and granted our Motion to Dismiss for Fraud on the Court.
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Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with more than 370 lawyers serving clients from 21 offices in the United States and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 40 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.
David M. Tarlow is the managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale office. He is an expert in civil litigation and is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Education and Specialization. His practice includes all aspects of insurance and general liability defense, product liability, wrongful death, personal injury defense, premise liability, automobile liability, negligent security, legal malpractice, and insurance coverage disputes and bad faith litigation. Tarlow received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law and is admitted to practice law in Florida and in the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Matthew McElligott is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office focusing on insurance and general liability defense, including personal injury, premises liability, product liability defense, wrongful death, automobile liability, negligent security, legal malpractice defense, insurance coverage disputes and bad faith litigation. McElligott received his Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of South Carolina and is admitted to practice law in Florida.